Radiohead fans can pay what they like for new album

LONDON - Radiohead has become the latest band to deal a huge blow to record companies and high street music stores, by allowing their fans to choose how much they want to pay to download their seventh studio album.

The 10-track 'In Rainbows' album will be available from next Wednesday as a digital download via Radiohead's website.

Visitors to the site will be able to choose how much they want to pay for the album and can even choose to download it for free, bar a 45p transaction fee.

New albums are typically available through Apple's iTunes (usually with a £7.99 price tag). However, Radiohead has always refused to make their music available via the site, on the basis that they do not want listeners to selectively choose tracks to download.

'In Rainbows' is the band's first album since their contract with global music label EMI expired. Their last album for the label was 2003's 'Hail to the Thief'. The band are currently not signed up with a record label.

A £40 boxset version of the album, containing two CDs with extra tracks, artwork and a booklet will go on sale in December.

Yesterday it emerged that indie rockers The Charlatans are to give away their forthcoming album as a free download in a deal with Xfm, in a move which music mogul Alan McGee said could pave the way for a spate of free releases.

In July, Prince sparked a major row with HMV when the singer gave away his latest album, 'Planet Earth', free with The Mail on Sunday. HMV claimed it devalued music and the Entertainment Retailers Association also claimed that the move "beggar[ed] belief". However, HMV decided to stock The Mail on Sunday on the day of Prince's album give away.

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